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Library Research Tools

Introduction to Library Research Tools

If your goal is finding information quickly, easily, and at your fingertips you’ve come to the right place! Automated information systems provide rapid access to the library's extensive holdings and can go much more in depth than a Google search. Here is a brief introduction to the many research tools accessible online or by Asking A Librarian at the NIC Information Center and Robert J. Kutak Library.

These searchable resources and online databases offer evidence-based, timely solutions and fast facts no matter the topic. One of our professional librarians can walk you through more on how to use these tools and/or provide you with annotated bibliographies, studies, and research to assist you in decision making, policy creation, programming, and beyond.

The NIC Information Center and Robert J. Kutak Library Website

There are thousands of corrections related research materials available from the online library in various formats from streaming media to downloadable PDF documents. Use the search function on the site to enter your keywords on any corrections related topic. 

Library Subject/Topic Guides (a.k.a. LibGuides/Topic Pages/Resource Lists)

The NIC Information Center librarians prepare and constantly update these comprehensive and individual subject/topic guides organized by subject categories on current research topics in corrections. You will find annotated bibliographies as well as trending peer-reviewed and evidence-based research in this section of the library website.

NIC Information Center Hot Topics

These are a combination of trending topics and frequently asked questions from corrections personnel in the field. The NIC Information Center answers thousands of inquiries each month. This resource provides a listing of our most frequently asked questions and a database of answers. Access the NIC Information Center Hot Topics.

Accessing the Library Catalog and Special Collections

The NIC Information Center and Robert J. Kutak Library maintain several specialized library collections. It's primary collection is the NIC publications database and archives. It also provides corrections-related materials that includes evidence-based research and resources from a variety of peer-reviewed authoritative sources. The collections also include unpublished, operationally-oriented resources developed by correctional agencies for use by practitioners in the field. These are items such as policies, procedural manuals, reports, newsletters, and training materials. The library also collects published materials on correctional topics and serves as a distribution center and archive for NIC publications.The library catalog is maintained though Koha, an open source project.The catalog currently holds over 15,000 items. These items are searchable by librarians on site at this time, although we are hoping to add this to our discovery services online in the future. Please contact us to learn more and request a search.

Library Research Databases

A research database contains reliable, peer-reviewed, accurate and authoritative information gathered together in one place, and provides convenient and quick access to the information. Each database contains thousands of articles which you can search for simultaneously and quickly to find articles with higher relevancy than searching in individual journals.

Research databases are organized collections of computerized information or data such as periodical articles, books, graphics and multimedia that can be searched to retrieve information. Databases can be general or subject oriented with bibliographic citations, abstracts, and or full text. The sources indexed may be written by scholars, professionals or generalists.

Research databases that are retrieved on the World Wide Web or via Google searches are generally non-fee based, lack in-depth indexing, and do not index proprietary resources. Subscription or commercial databases are more refined with various types of indexing features, searching capabilities, and help guides. A librarian can help you use these resources to get accurate in depth information you can't find through a Google search.

Your Library

Many thousands of free research resources are available at local community or academic libraries as well. NIC Information Center Librarians can help you build awareness of what's available at different types of libraries. Learn more by contact the NIC Information Center Librarians at the Virtual HelpDesk and find out more about what libraries do for you at: I Love Libraries

Third Party Library Research Tools & Apps Freely Available Online